ThinkPad and IdeaPad K1 Android tablets, hands-on

Lenovo unveils its Android 3.1 ThinkPad and IdeaPad K1 tablets, both of which are priced at $499 and available in August 2011.

You can now officially add Lenovo to the list of computer manufacturers pushing out Android tablets this year. In fact, put the company down for two.

Meet the Tango & Cash of tablets. The ThinkPad Tablet is the business-minded one of the pair, with its optional digital pen and suite of DocsToGo software. The IdeaPad K1 is the party animal, with certification for Netflix streaming and a SocialTouch app that puts all your social networks within easy reach.

Both tablets are set for major release in August, though the IdeaPad K1 can be ordered directly from Lenovo and select partners starting today. The base price on the ThinkPad Tablet is $499 (16GB), and the IdeaPad K1 starts at $449 (16GB).

For the ThinkPad, that $499 gets you a Wi-Fi-only connection to the Web. Other options, such as 3G data modules, preinstalled software, and keyboard portfolio cases, can all be added to your bill. An extra $30 will get you the N-trig digital pen, which can be neatly tucked away inside the tablet frame. Because Lenovo is ultimately targeting the enterprise market with the ThinkPad Tablet, it can be tailored in hundreds of different ways to suit the need. So whether you need VPN-secured desktop virtualization software, or a custom app store filled with company-approved software, Lenovo has your back.

The ThinkPad Tablet isn't the sexiest thing we've seen, though. Tipping the scales at 1.6 pounds (without the pen), this slab isn't for frail hands. On a positive note, Lenovo puts the heft to good use with a battery rated for 8.7 hours of mixed use, along with full-size USB ports, an SD card slot, Mini-HDMI, and more.

For those who don't get weak in the knees at the thought of a rugged, secure, IT-deployed business tablet, Lenovo has the consumer-friendly IdeaPad K1. Just like the ThinkPad, this tablet runs Android 3.1 on a 10.1-inch (1,280x800-pixel resolution) touch screen. It has an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of system RAM, with front and rear cameras specced at 2 megapixels and 5 megapixels, respectively. Lenovo is also making a big deal out of the IdeaPad's DRM certification, which allows Netflix streaming and 1080p output of protected content over the included HDMI connection. Throw in Adobe Flash 10.3 compatibility, and you're looking at a ton of streaming Web content at your fingertips.

Lenovo throws in a few other unique features, such as its SocialTouch app (not as pervy as it sounds), which collects all of your social network feeds in one place. You're also treated to a cloud-storage file locker for syncing photos, music, and videos, though exact details are scarce.

In terms of design, the IdeaPad K1 doesn't fare much better than its business-oriented friend. You do get four colors to choose from (red, black, white, and brown), each with an easy-grip textured finish on the back. Unfortunately, you're still carrying around a 1.65-pound tablet that's just over half an inch thick.

For more information, check out our hands-on galleries for the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and IdeaPad K1. For the Windows version, head over to our coverage of the Windows 7-powered IdeaPad P1 .

 

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